Dark Wisdom: Sam W. Anderson

In “Dark Wisdom,” we seek writing and/or publishing advice from the horror fiction masters making up Denver Horror Collective’s Advisory Council

For this installment, we harass Sam W. Andersonauthor of over forty published short stories and collaborative novels, and two short-story collections.

What’s the difference between horror and thriller fiction?

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Photo: John Mattison

SAM W. ANDERSONThis is a question that I could answer in two words or a twenty-page doctoral thesis. I’ll circle back to the two-word answer in a bit…after my shortened thesis.

First, to the question, though. A guideline, so general that “guideline” stretches the credulity of the term, is that horror has the bad guy chasing the good guy (until the inevitable turn where they confront each other). The climax occurs with the evil being defeated or faced. Also, the more supernatural elements introduced tends to push a story more toward the horror side of the ledger.

In a thriller the good guy pursues the bad(der) guy. The climax tends to be the evil being unveiled. The more psychological the plot, the likelier it’s to fall under the thriller column.

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The Stigmata of Miramont Castle

“The Stigmata of Miramont Castle” is the third of several Colorado-based short stories written by local authors we’ll be publishing on the Denver Horror Collective website and in The Epitaph newsletter, as a lead-up to the fall release of Terror at 5280′, our local horror fiction anthology.

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Photo: Pikes Peak Library District

The Stigmata of Miramont Castle

by Matthew Amorebello

The octagonal room boomed with unseen forces. It reeked of rotten wood and stale incense. The wallpaper was a light blue Fleur-de-lis pattern and had gone untouched since the castle had been built in the late 19th century. Rust lined the metal light fixtures. The pulpit was uneven and inappropriately small. A statue of Christ adorned the southern wall with first light beaming across his cheek. The chapel was the highlight of Miramont Castle.

“The East Wing was completed in 1897,” began Lucinda.

Lucinda was Miramont’s tour guide. She was an older woman, with thick dyed black hair. Her voice was nasal, with a condescending tone. She spoke slowly and deliberately to the sole attendant of that morning’s tour.

“The room was Father Francolon’s dining hall,” she continued. “It was converted to a chapel by the Sisters of Mercy, who assumed control of the estate, after his return to France. They renamed the site ‘Montcalme’.”

“And what does that mean?” asked the elderly guest.

“Calm of the mountain,” answered Lucinda.

Lucinda excused herself from the room, as the elderly woman continued to admire the fine woodwork. She circled about the chapel, imagining herself back in time. She breathed in deeply, and the smell of the room overwhelmed her. She grabbed the pew to steady herself.

It was at this moment she became witness to the miracle. The statue of Christ came alive. The hands, feet, and chest oozed blood, pouring out the plaster statue and onto the wooden floor. The face turned to the elderly woman and smiled. Blood began to pour from his thorny crown.

The elderly woman approached the statue. She blessed herself and thanked God for bestowing this honor upon her. Emotion overwhelmed her and she nearly fainted, limping casually backwards into the chapel wall, scratching the blue wallpaper with her hand.

“Lucinda!” yelled the woman.

Lucinda rushed into the room and witnessed the stigmata. She took out her phone and snapped a few photos of the miracle at hand. She turned her attention to the elderly guest, who was on the verge of passing out.

“Are you OK, ma’am?” asked Lucinda.

The elderly woman cupped her face in her hands, rubbing her temples, then her eyes. Tears streamed down her face. She regained her posture and embraced the moment.

“I’ve waited my whole life for a miracle,” she said. “I can now die in peace.”

At that moment, the elderly woman went limp. She fell to the ground like an anvil, striking the creaky floor below.  She was noted to be lifeless upon impact.  Lucinda called for help, and by the time first responders arrived, the old woman was dead.

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Denver Horror Collective Raises Funds for Local Horror Fiction Anthology

Terror CoverDenver Horror Collective, a group of horror writers and artists, has raised $1,150 through its Indiegogo fundraiser to purchase stories from twenty-seven Colorado authors to publish in Terror at 5280’, a local horror fiction anthology due out this fall.

The twenty-one dark tales chosen for the print and e-book anthology (and six more in The Epitaph newsletter and on DenverHorror.com) are set around the greater Denver metroplex and Front Range Rocky Mountain communities. Some stories are based on local folklore and urban legends, while others touch on social and environmental themes relevant to the area, such as gentrification, substance abuse, and zombie deer (aka chronic wasting disease).

All stories are penned by Colorado authors, including: Bram Stoker Award® winning horror master Stephen Graham Jones, USA Today and #1 Denver Post bestselling thriller author Carter Wilson, various Denver Horror Collective members, and other Colorado-based horror fiction writers including Carina Bissett, Lindsay King-Miller, and Joy Yehle, with a foreword by Horror Writers Association President John Palisano.

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Help Get Terror at 5280′ Off the Ground!

Terror CoverHere at Denver Horror Collective—our frighteningly talented group of horror writers and artists in and around the Mile High City—we believe in the motto: write locally, scare globally.

Which is why we’re all shivers to announce our Indiegogo fundraiser for Terror at 5280’, our horror fiction anthology due out this fall, with stories set around the greater Denver metroplex and Front Range Rocky Mountain communities, all penned by Colorado authors!

What authors, you may ask? Well, how about:

  • Bram Stoker Award-winning horror master, Stephen Graham Jones
  • USA Today and #1 Denver Post bestselling thriller author Carter Wilson
  • Hex Publishers owner, editor, and author Josh Viola
  • Foreword by John Palisano, author and President of Horror Writers Association
  • Various Denver Horror Collective members
  • Other Colorado-based horror fiction writers

The print and e-book anthology will run about 250 pages and include roughly 20 stories (the editorial team has already made its selections and is currently editing). Some tales are based on local folklore and urban legends, while others touch on social and environmental themes relevant to the area, such as gentrification, substance abuse and…zombie deer.

As with everything at Denver Horror Collective, Terror at 5280’  is a group effort. So, if you love horror fiction, indie publishing, and/or local arts, will you make a contribution to our Indiegogo fundraiser today!

Dark Wisdom: Dean Wyant

In “Dark Wisdom,” we seek writing and/or publishing advice from the horror fiction masters making up Denver Horror Collective’s Advisory Council

For this installment, we grill Dean Wyant, co-founder and acquisitions editor at Hex Publishers. 

What’s the future of small press publishers?

Me

DEAN WYANT: May I have an easier question, please? How I wish I had a crystal ball for this one. There are some things I do understand as far as current publishing goes which I think will continue to influence small publishers as the book business progresses.

Large publishers want that next Harry Potter, Longmire mystery series or a guaranteed big selling author such as Stephen King. Quantity is equally as important, if not more so, than quality. Anyone who has attempted to break into the world of big time publishing knows how challenging it can be. You need an agent–good luck with that–and you need to have a manuscript that will sell. If you’re lucky enough to get published and it doesn’t sell well, you’re dumped. Ouch.

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First Breath by Nicole J. LeBoeuf

“First Breath” is the first of several Colorado-based short stories written by local authors we’ll be publishing on the Denver Horror Collective website and in The Epitaph newsletter, as a lead-up to the fall release of Terror at 5280′, our local horror fiction anthology.

First Breath
by Nicole J. LeBoeuf

[Author’s note: The setting of ‘First Breath’ is loosely based on the cafe and bar Loaded Joes in Avon, a favorite place to write (and sing karaoke) when I’m in the neighborhood.]

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Photo: Lisa Young

It was time I went in search of myself. Everyone has to do it once in their lives. Each of my parents had, years before, and now I felt the pull that said it was my turn. Time to make my own pilgrimage.

They saw me off, standing in front of the house and watching me drift down the road. “Remember what we taught you,” my mother said. “One foot in front of the other. You’ll do fine.”

“Hurry home as soon as you can,” said my father, a wry smile hiding the sadness of parting. “You’ll want to be here when the baby arrives.”

I could only nod, looking first from face to face then down at the place where my unborn sibling waited to be breathed into life. I wanted to take their hands. I wanted to hold them and never let go.

But I couldn’t touch them. I could not even speak. Not yet.

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Music To My Fears on Oct. 5

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MUSIC TO MY FEARS: Horror Fiction Readings set to Live Music!

A benefit for Terror at 5280′, a local horror fiction anthology

$15 General Admission ($20 for attendance + drink)

Get tix HERE!

Readings by: JoAnn Chaney (New York Times and USA Today bestselling author), Gary Robbe, Hollie Snider, Thomas C. Mavroudis, Grace Horton, Sean Murphy, Amy Armstrong, Bobby Crew, and Josh Schlossberg.

Music by: Brendan Devlin, Nate Trautenberg, Thomas C. Mavroudis, Jonatha Forisha, Andy Frank, DJ Krups, and Josh Schlossberg.

Hosted by: Jeamus Wilkes

Presented by: Denver Horror Collective

Sponsored by: Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Crestone Law Group, Indyink, YaYa’s Euro Bistro, Roaming Buffalo BBQ, and BookBar

Music To My Fears Flyer